When the Lakeshore Chinooks plated four insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning their lead swelled to 9-3. At the time no one knew how big those runs would eventually turn out to be.
Sunday afternoon brought the Chinooks their fourth straight win, 9-5 over the Rafters on a hot, muggy, afternoon at Witter Field in Wisconsin Rapids.
The Chinooks got on the board early when Eric Aguilera (Illinois State) launched a 1-2 pitch over the wall in left field for his second homer of the season pushing the Chinooks to the early 1-0 lead in the second frame.
Ty Kamps (UW Oshkosh) lead off the third inning with a ringing three-bagger and was driven home by lead-off hitter Forest Chadwich’s (Southern Maine) RBI single doubling the Chinook lead to 2-0. The Chinooks were not done in the third. Two batters later, Bre Kimbell (Louisiana Tech) continued his torrid pace this weekend driving in both Chadwick and Matt Morse (UAB), who had been hit by a pitch earlier in the frame, on his fifth hit of the weekend. The scoreboard now read 4-0 Chinooks.
Starting Pitcher Tyler Thicke (Madison College) found himself dancing in and out of trouble early on thanks to some poor Chinooks defense. Lakeshore committed three errors in the first three innings. The Rafters would plate their first run of the contest on a fielder’s choice ground out after the first two hitters would reach on a single and a double respectively.
The fifth inning would see Thicke hit the wall. After giving up a lead-off walk to start the frame, Sean Godfrey (Ball State) hit a two-run shot; his first of the year, making it 4-3 Lakeshore. Thicke was able to retire the next hitter on a fly out to center for the first out of the inning. A single and a walk later, field manager John Vodenlich had seen enough and turned to right-hander Josh Uhen (UWM).
Uhen pitched very well, holding Wisconsin Rapids scoreless for 3 2/3 innings all while protecting a one run cushion.
The Chinooks added an insurance run in the 8th inning when Ryan Krill (Michigan State) made the most of his pinch hit opportunity scoring Ty Young (Louisville) from second base. The next frame would see the Chinooks put the game seemingly out of reach scoring four times highlighted by a Kimbell two RBI double giving him four RBI’s on the night.
The Rafter’s forced the Chinook faithful to bite their fingernails down to the stubs, scoring two runs and putting the tying run in the on deck circle, all after the first two outs where recorded with relative ease.
The win was a franchise-high fourth straight for the Chinooks pushing them to a southern division best 8-4. The Chinooks return home tomorrow for a week long homestead beginning at 6:35 against the La Crosse Loggers. We hope to see you out at Kapco Park in support of Chinooks baseball.